Happy World Water Day! This year’s “Water for All” theme highlights the importance of leaving no one behind. It brings to light the fact that billions of people still live without access to safe water. Earth’s water system is directly impacted by climate, and we see it especially in the increasing frequency of floods and droughts, as well as in sea-level rise and changes in storm intensity. Freshwater resources are highly vulnerable to climate change, and both food and water security are at the mercy of a changing climate.
USAID responds to the threats of an increasingly volatile water cycle in many different ways. Climate information services such as those provided to farmers in Africa’s Sahel can give vulnerable populations advance notice of changing weather conditions. Adaptive water management, part of the Supporting Community Adaptation to Water Shortages project in Kiribati, can increase communities’ resilience and give them extra tools for managing change when it arrives. And ecosystem-based adaptation, a part of projects undertaken in Peru and Philippines, delivers both water management and development benefits.
Some of Climatelinks’ numerous resources and blogs related to water can be found below. You can also visit the following pages to see a full list of water-related blogs, as well as water-related resources.
- Safeguarding Water in the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’ tells how the Sustainable Water Partnership and the Adaptation Thought Leadership and Assessments project collaborated to tell the story of the Mara River as part of a basin-wide climate vulnerability assessment. The Mara River crosses Kenya and Tanzania, supporting wildlife in two conservation areas and providing water for drinking and irrigation to more than a million people before draining into Lake Victoria.
- Maintaining Water Security in Peru Through Green Infrastructure highlights USAID’s mission in Peru’s work on three sub-national projects for improving water security through ecosystem-based adaptation. The case study emphasizes the use of green (natural) infrastructure over conventional ‘grey’ (built) infrastructure in helping communities to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.
- South Africa: A New Model for Transformational USAID/Water Office Support? details the challenges unique to South Africa, including the looming threat of a “Day Zero” in Cape Town, when municipal water sources would run dry and residents would begin to receive a daily water ration. USAID’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Finance (WASH-FIN) program has expanded water access in a number of countries including Cambodia, Kenya, Senegal and South Africa.
- Climate Change in Your Sector is one of the most popular tools on Climatelinks. It provides illustrative climate stresses, direct and indirect impacts, and possible adaptation and mitigation responses relevant to the sector of interest, including infrastructure, health and water. This tool is especially useful for users who are new to thinking about how climate change relates to traditional international development sectors.
- Watershed Ecosystem Service Tool (WESTool) estimates the impacts of land use change on water quality, greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural production and other indicators of ecosystem health on a map overlay. This interactive tool was developed by Winrock International for use in Cambodia.
For more coverage of World Water Day 2019 and USAID's work on issues related to water, visit Global Waters.
Stephan Hardeman is the Site and Community Manager for Climatelinks. He draws on more than five years of experience in communications for international environmental trust funds to support Climatelinks through USAID’s Sharing Environment and Energy Knowledge (SEEK) initiative by engaging the Climatelinks community and featuring its work. Stephan has MAs in International Affairs (American University) and Natural Resources and Sustainable Development (United Nations University for Peace) and BAs in English and Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin.